In case you haven't noticed, I'm a little worried about the number of walks Mets pitchers have given up.
Entering Tuesday night's action, much as I suspected, the Mets led the majors in walks allowed.
(I had been afraid to look...I finally bit the bullet.)
And I feel like it's starting to catch up to the Mets.
It seems like almost every starter for the Mets is walking four batters a game. In fact, in terms of walks allowed, the Mets' five starters can all be found in the top 40 in the National League. (I'm no mathematician, but to my figuring that wouldn't be so bad if there were just 8 teams...since there are 16 NL teams though, that's kind of alarming.)
(Another parenthetical remark - look no further as to why the Dodgers are struggling - another offensively-challenged team that gives the other team too many baserunners via the walk. 3 of their starters are sprinkled in among the Mets, and rounding out the top 40 is reliever George Sherrill - 11 walks in 9 innings pitched. Yikes.)
And where the Mets were succeeding in spite of the walks for most of April, most notably during their 8-game winning streak, when the opponents left lots of runners on base, they're starting to pay the price now.
Though 10 runs allowed by Johan Santana is what stands out from Sunday night's game in Philadelphia, what really hurt him were two walks (the only two he allowed in his 3-and-two-thirds innings). With two out in the fourth, and just one run in, Santana walked Carlos Ruiz to load the bases, then pitcher Jamie Moyer for another run, and then he gave up a grand slam. Back-to-back walks, including a walk to the pitcher and a bases-loaded walk - two of my least favorite kinds of walks. (If you've read my work for any period of time you know how I hate the bases-loaded walk. I hate it when there's a power hitter at the plate. Imagine how much I hate it when the hitter is Jamie Moyer.)
Look at the second run the Reds scored Tuesday night - the circumstances were a bit strange (a wild throw from right field into the stands allowed the run to score), but the runner got on because of a leadoff walk. And don't get me started on Francisco Rodriguez's 14 baserunners (7 walks) in 11 innings. But look at the end result - John Maine only walked two batters, and Rodriguez had a 1-2-3 ninth, and the Mets picked up a win.
And let's make this clear - other than Oliver Perez, it's not like the Mets' pitchers have insane control issues - they're not so much wild walks as they are careless walks. Which is why I know they can change.
Moral of this story - the Mets have yet to show they can play from behind. Their pitchers need to give them a chance to jump out ahead in games. In order to do that, they need to stop walking batters and at least make the other teams earn their baserunners.